Gross Avoids Prosecution in Danni Jo Thiel’s Death

10/11 – The Burnett man whose actions ten years ago led to the death of a Beaver Dam woman this past May will not face additional prosecution. Nicholas Gross had a blood alcohol level that was over three times the legal limit for driving when he smashed head-on into a vehicle near Horicon in August of 2001. Sue Thiel was killed and her then-14year-old daughter Danni Jo was left bedridden for the next decade before finally succumbing to her injuries four months ago. Gross will be released from prison this coming May. Dodge County District Attorney Kurt Klomberg says his hands are tied when it comes to finding justice for Danni Jo. Until 2003, Wisconsin – like many other states – observed the “Year and a Day” common law rule that prevented prosecutions if a person died more than a year after sustaining injuries. In 2003, the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned the Year and a Day Rule, ruling that it is “unjust to permit an assailant to escape punishment because of a convergence of modern medical advances and an archaic rule from the thirteenth century.” However the Court also held that their ruling only applied to injuries sustained after 2003 and kept the Year and a Day Rule in place for prior offenses. Since Thiel was injured in 2001, Gross cannot be prosecuted. Klomberg says he is “deeply troubled” that he is “legally prohibited from seeking justice for Danni Jo because of an arcane legal rule dating back the middle ages.” Danni Jo’s father Dan Thiel says he is disappointed but he understands.